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Pronouns - singular or plural?

The doctor is going to be late; he is stuck in traffic.

In this sentence, the subject is ‘the doctor’, which is a singular subject. So when we refer to the doctor later in the sentence using a pronoun, we need to use a singular pronoun - ‘he’.

Handy Hint - Confusing singular pronouns

There are several indefinite pronouns that are singular, even though people may think that they are plural.

Everyone is going to Joe’s party on Saturday night.

‘Everyone’ is a singular indefinite pronoun. This confuses some people - ‘everyone’ sounds like it’s referring to more than one person, more like ‘all’ of the people. The trick to remembering that it’s singular is to think of it as two words:

Everyone = ‘Every’ + ‘one’

Every one is going Joe’s party on Saturday night.

Now, it’s like the word ‘every’ is an adjective and ‘one’ is the pronoun, which is singular. So it needs a singular verb - ‘is’ in this sentence.

Same goes for quite a few other indefinite pronouns:

everybody, somebody, nobody, anybody

everyone, someone, no one, anyone

Take ‘nobody’ for instance and split it up:

Nobody is going to soccer training tonight.

No body is going to soccer training tonight.

‘No’ is like an adjective describing how many ‘bodies’ there are. In this case, ‘no’ means that there are zero ‘bodies’. ‘Body’ itself is singular, so it needs a singular verb - ‘is’.